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UNESCO to Celebrate 50th World Heritage Convention with Conference in Delphi, Greece

Delphi, Greece. Photo source: © Bruno Doucin & Lionel Lalaité, UNESCO.

The 50th anniversary of UNESCO’s Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage will be celebrated with an international conference in the ancient town of Delphi in Greece during November 17-18.

Adopted in mid-November 1972, the Convention is an international treaty that  created the World Heritage Sites, focusing on nature’s  conservation and the preservation of cultural properties.

The celebratory Delphi conference entitled “The Next 50 – The future of World Heritage in challenging times enhancing resilience and sustainability” is co- organized by the Greek Culture Ministry and the Permanent Delegation of Greece to UNESCO in cooperation with the UNESCO World Heritage Center.

Photo source: UNESCO.

It conference will bring together several dozen experts from all over the world alongside representatives of UNESCO and the States Parties serving on the World Heritage Committee, who will take stock of the Convention’s achievement and examine the challenges it faces in the 21st century.

“This conference will discuss our global and national priorities in regards to climate change and sustainable tourism. Both issues demand solutions which can only result through scientific and political international collaborations,” said Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni while discussing the conference’s program.

The event will launch on Thursday, November 17, by Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece and the Greek culture minister.

Director General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay.

The Director-General of UNESCO will announce a three-pronged action plan to make World Heritage more representative, accessible and sustainable over the coming decades.

During the two-day conference, a series of round-table discussions will take place on themes such as the priority needed to be given to Africa, the resilience of World Heritage in the face of climate change, sustainable tourism and digitization.

“This is a great opportunity to explore how we can further protect cultural heritage and restructure the historic 1972 Convention so that future challenges can be met, and dangers eliminated,” Mendoni added.

The European Cultural Center in Delphi.

The World Heritage Convention has been ratified by 194 countries to date.  Nevertheless, Africa only accounts for 9 percent of current World Heritage sites, according to UNESCO.

At the same time climate change has become the number one threat to natural World Heritage sites. It is already having negative impacts on 34 percent of them, and on 70 percent of marine sites.

The event will take place at the European Cultural Center in Delphi and will be livestreamed through the Culture Ministry’s youtube channel.

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